When spring arrives, it brings crisp sweet onions. These juicy yellow onions are mild in flavor with little to no aftertaste; perfectly delicious to eat raw or lightly cooked.
This pesto flatbread is a blend of baked goodness and fresh produce, the ideal canvas for showing off your favorite brand of sweet onion. A rich pesto is blended into the dough and then the flatbread is studded with onion slices before being baked. Add these three simple toppings: asparagus ribbons, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts you have a light and flavorful addition to any brunch menu.
If you are in a rush, substitute a store-bought dough and pesto for the homemade version in this recipe. You can even chop the asparagus instead of making the thin ribbons.
Whether you make this from scratch or you use a few pre-made ingredients, this recipe can easily be added to your spring brunch menu as mentioned. This is a great recipe for a light appetizer, or as a complete meal when paired with a soup or salad.
Pesto Flatbread with Sweet Onions and Asparagus
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Preparation time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Baking time: 15 minutes
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
2 tablespoons raw chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, peeled
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon fine ground sea salt
Place the basil, walnuts, Parmesan cheese and garlic in a small food processor or blender. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped. Add the olive oil and salt. Blend until a smooth, but thick paste forms.
1/2 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
1-1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
Extra virgin olive oil
3 ounces thick asparagus stalks, trimmed (about 3 thick stalks)
1/2 medium sweet yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts
2 to 3 ounces goat cheese
In a small bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water. Add the sugar and stir a few times. Let sit until the yeast blooms, about 5 minutes.
Add flour to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. Turn the mixer on low; pour in the yeast. Mix on medium, until the dough comes together to form a ball or about two minutes. It may be slightly dry at this point.
Add the pesto to the mixer. With the mixer on medium, mix until the pesto is blended into the dough or for about a minute. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes, until it is smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a ball. Coat a large bowl and the ball of dough lightly with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for about one hour or until it doubles in size.
While the dough rises, use a vegetable peeler to peel the asparagus stalks into thin ribbons. Carefully peel as much as possible from each stalk. Protect your hands by laying the stalk flat on a sturdy surface while your work. Next, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium-saucepan. Add the asparagus ribbons to the boiling water and cook for 60 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate covered in a paper towel to drain.
Spray a baking sheet with olive oil or non-stick cooking spray. Punch down the dough and place it on the baking sheet. Use your hands or a rolling pin to spread to an 11 to 12-inch circle.
Arrange the onion slices on the top of the dough. Start with the larger slices and fill in with the smaller slices, working your way around the surface of the dough. Gently press the onion slices into the dough. Let rise for 15 more minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Bake the flatbread for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove the flatbread from the oven and brush the surface with olive oil. Serve warm topped with asparagus, toasted walnuts and small crumbles of goat cheese.
Recipe and images by Lori Rice for the National Onion Association